The historical exhibit developed by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa opened in early June at both the Lanai Public and School Library in Lanai City and the library at Leeward Community College in Pearl City.
A standing-room-only crowd attended the opening of the exhibit at Leeward Community College followed by “Bringing the Families Home,” a presentation by ‘Ohana Coordinator Valerie Monson on the efforts of the ‘Ohana to reconnect families to their Kalaupapa ancestors.
The exhibit, “A Source of Light, Constant and Never-Fading,” emphasizes the strong relationship between the people of Kalaupapa and the Royal Family of Hawaii, a chapter of history often overlooked. The more permanent form of the exhibit opened at Leeward Community College where it will remain on display through August 30. A traveling form of the exhibit, identical in content and size but more portable, opened at the Lanai Library where it will remain up through July 3.
“The ‘Ohana welcomes the opportunity to partner with both the Lanai and Leeward Community College libraries to help the public learn about the real history of Kalaupapa as told by the words of her people,” said ‘Ohana President Clarence “Boogie” Kahilihiwa. “When you read the actual words of those who were sent to Kalaupapa, written in the Hawaiian language, you come away with a very different feeling than if you only read what was written in English.”
Letters from early residents of Kalaupapa, the songs they composed and the petitions they signed have all been translated from Hawaiian into English and arranged on tall double-sided panels along with large historical and contemporary photographs.
Before the exhibit moved to Leeward Community College, it was on display at ‘Iolani Palace for 15 months where it was popular among tourists and kama`aina alike. The traveling version was hosted by the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Kauai Community College, Saint Damien Church in Kaunakakai and Molokai High School before its showing on Lanai.
Kahilihiwa said the exhibit is an important component of the schools outreach program that the ‘Ohana began last fall and plans to expand. It is hoped that teachers, students and entire classes will visit the exhibit and want to learn more about the history of Kalaupapa. Any teacher is welcome to contact ‘Ohana Coordinator Valerie Monson for more information to help in the classrooms by contacting email@example.com.
A series of special programs that is still being planned will be held in conjunction with the exhibit at Leeward Community College where the summer semester is underway. Check this website and the Leeward library link below for updated information.
There is no charge. Library hours are:
Leeward Community College: Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday. (College is closed Tuesday, June 11; Thursday, July 4 and from August 16-23). For more information see the link on the college website: http://lcc.hawaii.libguides.com/kalaupapa
Lanai Public and School Library: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 1-8 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 808-565-7920.